Female YouTubers Chime in on Birds of Prey

Following her big breakup with the Joker, Harley Quinn now has a huge target on her back and is especially wanted from eccentric crime boss Black Mask and his right-hand man Victor Zasaz. On the run, Quinn finds herself teaming up with some bad ass women – Huntress, Black Canary and Renee Montoya, and confronts the thugs who want to take her down in Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey (2020). Directed by Cathy Yan, the film stars Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jurnee Smollette, Ewan McGregor, Rosie Perez, Chris Messina and Ella Jay Basco. Female YouTubers Grace Randolph from the channel Beyond The Trailer, Steph Cozza from the channel Aggressive Comix and Sharronda Williams from the channel Pay Or Wait, share their thoughts on the female lead comic book film.

It’s supposed to represent women, yet Harley Quinn is front and center and the other female characters have very little screen time and development. Margot Robbie has famously now said that she wanted to shine a spotlight on lesser-known DC characters which I think is admirable but she’s not doing that. They very much come across as back up dancers instead of partners.

Excited and wrapped up in the hype of having a “female empowerment” comic book film, YouTuber Grace Randolph is quite disappointed by the fact that the film mostly focuses on only a singular female character. What happened to the “girl power” movement and “females sticking together” type of vibe?

Echoing in agreement, YouTuber Sharronda Williams wishes the film featured more of the female characters as a pact together, instead of the individual stories of Harley Quinn’s past flashbacks. The film is much more enjoyable, engaging and entertaining when the characters' group dynamics come together kicking butt and fighting off “villains” and “bad guys”, says Williams.

I really enjoyed the moments where the women were all together. It did take a long time to kind of get to that part … they should have focused more time on actually getting the women together sooner because those are the moments when the movie really really works.

In some parts, Black Canary and Huntress stole the show! YouTuber Steph Cozza is very impressed with the performance by Mary Elizabeth Winstead, who plays The Huntress and wishes her character had more screen time. She totally embodies the “badass woman” archetype that a comic book superhero is supposed to convey.

I think Huntress just stole the show, completely stole the show. Stellar performance by Mary Elizabeth Winstead who I would happily leave my husband for at any moment. But can we get a movie about her next, like a Huntress film please … she was so good.

Black Canary has some of the best fight scenes in the entire film, says Randolph who really enjoys those action moments as they are elements of the character that stay true to the original comic books. Although she does question the use of her “powers” being a meta human because it feels out of place in the film where the other characters don’t necessarily have physical “powers” other than being able to fight and outwit their enemies. Ultimately, the YouTuber is impressed with the performances of the two women and wishes the film allowed for more character development and screen time for both.

Both Black Canary and Huntress are very good but they’re really restricted in what they’re allowed to do on screen. It’s unfortunate.

All the women do agree, Margot Robbie’s performance of Harley Quinn is excellent. She puts a very unique and original spin on the comic book character and does a great job in giving us the Harley Quinn we want to see.

I love Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn and I love that she kind of gives a new spin or a new take on Harley Quinn in this film because she is different from where we saw her in Suicide Squad … we see a different side of Harley that we’re not used to seeing, but I really love what Margot Robbie does with the character.

One of the reasons the film isn’t completely up to par is because of the constant flashbacks and present moment scenes that end up feeling a bit sloppy, says Randolph. The back and forth makes the film confusing at times and “lazy” at times to have the character narrate the events of the story instead of actually showing the events of the story visually to the audience.

Instead of doing the work in the script, a lot of things are written up on the screens. Sometimes it gets laughs but I do feel it’s a little sloppy.

Cozza also thinks the back and forth flashbacks are supposed to represent Harley Quinn’s “crazy” and “looney” personality in which the film is trying to convey, but it unfortunately feels more like choppy editing and out of order storytelling.

I think the biggest problem this film has is its sloppy. It kind of tries to get away with it by having Harley narrate and tell this story and maybe that tricks people into thinking it's ok to be a little bit of a sloppy story because she’s kind of crazy … I didn’t buy it.

For a film that is marketed to highlight females and diversity, the film really does fail in all those departments says the YouTubers. The majority of the film focuses only on Harley Quinn, the other female characters have very minimal character development and screen time. The hints towards LGBTQ characters are almost nonexistent. Most of the screen time went to the main hero and villain, both of whom are white characters. Female YouTubers are underwhelmed by DC’s attempt at breaking the Hollywood barrier of representation in the movies.

YouTubers Grace Randolph, Sharronda Williams and Steph Cozza, rate and review new movies and TV shows on their channels regularly.